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Raphael Berrios is one of our Foundations of Woodworking scholarship students in Spring 2016. He also took our Timber Frame Tiny Home course and brought home one of the structures to finish for himself (you can follow his progress on his blog!  Here’s what he had to say about what led him to PTSW, his experience so far, and thoughts for the future:
Synopsis: No room in the garage? Basement not an option? Consider what Ken St. Onge did when he needed shop space: He bought a prefabricated shed and converted it into his full-time woodshop. Because a pre-built shed doesn’t need a cement foundation and is built in a factory, it’s much less expensive than building an addition or stand-alone shop on your property. It can have taller ceilings than a garage and bigger doors than a basement, both big pluses for a woodworker. You can put a shed just about anywhere, too. Here’s a soup to nuts look at Ken’s experience, so you can gauge whether a shop in a shed is right for you.
You can buy sandpaper, glue, and other consumables from them for a nominal price. Their hand tools are propitiatory though so you would have to buy a specific kind of orbital sandpaper, for example. You couldn't just get generic. They are reasonably priced though. There is literally a coffee can with money in it and prices written on the boxes with these consumables. If you think you might burn through enough sand paper on something, check the brand and price shop.
I'd decided on an oil-and-wax finish. Oil finishes are by no means the toughest. In fact, they're really rather pathetic, so far as protecting the wood goes. But they're easy to apply, and not even the toughest finish will stand up to the abuse that a workbench will suffer, so it's more important that it be easy to repair. Wax is usually used to add a high gloss. On a bench, it's there to keep glue from sticking.
I agree that I might quickly outgrow a 12x8 shed. Lowes also offers a 12x10 Rancher (same style, but more room), but the 12x10 is 9 feet, 4 inches high, and my community only allows a maximum height of 9 feet. The 12x8 is exactly 9 feet high. I'm afraid of getting "out of spec" if I exceed the height limit and then getting in trouble with the Home Owner's Association. Having said that, 12x10 would be about the biggest size I could get for the available area in my back yard, so even if I hire a shed contractor to do this, the shed would have to be 12x10 or smaller.
In terms of size, this bench is another Sjobergs that is a bit on the small side, though it is actually far more squared than some others. While its length is a bit disappointing at 54″, the width is over 24″ wide which does provide for more diverse projects. Even better, this product still features the incredibly 500-pound weight capacity and continues the Sjobergs trend of avoiding joints that are not as durable as they otherwise could be.
Students in the beginning woodworking class learn how to use a variety of tools, including a band, miter and table saw, a drill press, a jointer and a planer. Through the lathe technology class, students become familiar with a number of cutting, scraping and finishing techniques. Successful completion of the course leads to a lathe certification for the wood shop.
A workbench needs to be heavy enough that it doesn't move under you while you're working, and stiff enough that it doesn't rack itself to pieces under the forces that will be placed upon it. It doesn't take many hours of planing a board or hammering a chisel for a worktable made of nailed 2x4s to come apart. Traditional bench designs use mortise-and-tenon joinery, which is strong and rigid, but not really suited for a novice woodworker who doesn't already have a bench.
Mine is similar but a bit more robust. The top is a sandwich, two 18mm sheets of WBP ply with an 18mm mdf filling. The legs are mortise and tenoned together, the ends glued and pegged, the stretchers are joined with long bolts so it comes apart. I stiffened it by adding a very closely fitted cabinet underneath (it had to go in dead square) and it is now absolutely rock solid.
While a strict figure for the bench’s weight capacity is not available, a quick browse through their other stand and bench products shows a general weight capacity well above most other brands. As such, while we cannot say for certain that this bench provides the best weight capacity, it is more than likely that it the capacity is similar to the other products in the catalog.

Thread the rods through one of the legs, then set the leg flat on the table. Insert dowels into the dowel holes. Place the matching stretchers into place. Put dowels into the dowel holes at the top end of the stretchers. Place the other leg onto the threaded rod and settle it down onto the dowels. You'll probably have another opportunity to whack away with your rubber mallet.
These sorts of things are usually glued and screwed, but it's actually the glue that holds them together - the screws just hold everything tight while the glue cures. Screwing into hardboard or 1/4" ply is an exercise in futility, so I just used glue, and used my two 4x4's as long clamps. It would have been a bit easier, if I'd done this before I'd rough-cut the 4x4's, but it worked out.

Timberframing is a traditional technique for building large and small structures using only wooden joinery. Prized for its structural integrity and beauty, as well as reliance on hand skills, timberframing is regaining popularity in modern applications. We will start with an overview of the different styles and aesthetics involved, and move into the specific tools that are used to lay out and cut the strong joints. Each student gets guided practice time making sample joints. We will all work together to make a small structure that can be raised on the final day of class.
I decided to finish the top with a number of coats of Danish oil, followed by a coat of wax. I applied the first coat of oil in the usual manner, making sure to cover the edges, and down the holes. I applied a coat oil to the top side of the shelf, as well. Wipe it on, let it sit wet for half-an-hour, then rub it off. Wait a day or two, add a second coat, and then again for a third.
Those bums even have a stipulation that you can't connect any utilities to a shed. My plan is to adhere to the letter of the law if not the spirit. I plan to run a buried 20 amp power line out to the shed (this will be done professionally and properly according to whatever is required by the law), but it will require a manual connection to a junction box on the outside of my house to complete the circuit. That way, I can argue that the electrical connection is only temporary and is little more than a safe and buried version of an extension cord.
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